E-commerce was already growing at high speed prior to the global pandemic, but COVID has further fueled society’s shift to online shopping. Commercial trucks are a major source of the emissions and pollutants that contribute to global warming. While automakers such as Tesla have begun to bring electric cars into the mainstream, that kind of sustainability revolution has yet to take hold in the commercial trucking sector. Carl-Magnus Norden, founder and executive chairman of Volta Truck, explains how their startup can be the catalyst needed to make the sector more environmentally friendly. Over the last few years, Volta has developed its Volta Zero, which it describes as the world’s first purpose-built, full-electric, 16 ton commercial truck, designed specifically for freight distribution in city centers.
Carl-Magnus Norden’s startup is building an electric truck with new services called Truck-as-a-Service (TaaS). Volta is tackling the problem of CO2 emissions and other pollutants in the cities, including NOx, noise, vibrations that contribute to making life in the cities uncomfortable or less safe.
Safety is in fact one of the main causes of the big driver shortage in the industry. In many cities around the world, accident rates between trucks and pedestrians and bikers are horribly high. The Volta TaaS model tries to make the driver profession and work environment for the driver healthier, safer, and nicer through their design. For example they have maximized the glazing to minimize the blind spots, because the high position in a normal truck creates blind spots in front of the truck, on the curbside of the truck.
As far as a positive environmental impact is concerned, the Volta Truck uses technology that is best-in-class, but existing and proven to enter the market as quickly as possible. Under a business perspective, there is demand and this makes it a sustainable and good business model.
The battery technology for Volta Truck covers short range or short-medium, translating into about 200 kilometers a day, which is more than enough for most of customers. As for medium-range, the only way that that can be serviced is with the battery technology improving over the next few years. And it undoubtedly will.
The Volta Truck will be soon present in London and Paris, and will extend to Madrid, Milan, the Rhine-Ruhr area in Germany, and the Flemish Diamond, so Amsterdam and Rotterdam by 2023. Hopefully this safer and environmentally friendlier alternative will be available in all of our cities too.
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Source: E(lectric) Commerce: Volta Trucks’ vehicle for sustainable delivery, McKinsey, Sept. 2021